Saturday, February 8, 2020

2020/2/8 MeetUp takes a Live Oak Stroll

The Horse and Mule Trail Riders in the 805 MeetUp took a lovely stroll, starting at the Live Oak Campground access to the trails around Lake Cachuma.

We were out for 2.5 hours and covered 5.44 miles. The day was bright and sunny, the animals were all happy to be out and about, and a good time was had by all.

Access to this wonderful resource costs $10 a day, or normal citizens $100 a year, us old ladies $50 a year, and they've recently dropped the annual pass fee for veterans to only $10!
The first order of business was to cross the Santa Ynez River. At this time of year it is shallow and scenic, and we left the parking area and entered into the wilderness.
The Google Earth map above showing our trail is presently quite inaccurate. It shows the lake as it looked during the recent great drought. This is a more presently accurate aerial photograph, with the lake returned to being a lake.

I started the MeetUp because I like to ride with people,
but truth be told
I'm never alone
when I'm with Tobe Mule!

As soon as we top the first ridge we look down onto the lake. Having watched it become a mud wallow over the past decade, it is a special joy to see it sparkling blue again.
So I chose it as the back drop to take portraits of the people who turned out for this ride.
Jamie Buse on Woody, the Quarter Horse Paint
Lisa Bullock on Shameless the Rocky Mountain Horse
Nancy Moore on Jugueton the Paso Fino
Bunnie Dunstone on Greter, 3/4 Arab and 1/4 Quarter Horse
Kathy McFarlane riding Cache and ponying Sansa, both Arabs
and of course Pat Fish on Tobe the Rocky Mountain Mule
From this point we dropped down into the plateau, and started to be on the lookout for wildlife. We were not disappointed! A small herd of deer made their disorganized panic display, running first one way and then the next, a fascinating sight for the equines.
There are several herds of wild bucking horses that graze in the area, today they stayed their distance away.

And then there was the small herd of cows that saw us and looked like they wanted to be told where to go.

We abdicated any responsibility for their movements and slowly they shuffled off.

A lot of the oak trees are struggling after so many years of little rain. Some are making a come-back, some are gone.
But even if they are bare silhouettes their stark beauty against the sky is lovely to see. Leaving the urban life behind, walking through nature at the 2mph pace of a 4 legged.
So here we all are, posing in a happy line-up, and then it was time to reverse course and start heading back to the rigs.
I appreciate that when I go out riding with people they listen for me calling out "Photo Op!" and wait while I line Tobe's ears up for a shot. It helps me make this blog, and preserve our shared memories.
I never tire of coming to this special place, where you can look North-East out across the mountain ranges and see a vast expanse with no humans in it. 45 minutes from the hustle and bustle of downtown Santa Barbara, today blanketed in a coastal fog so dense it almost felt like rain, and here we are, in the Land of Summer, walking on Centaur legs.
And as always credit is due my fine Tobe Mule, without whom this world would remain hidden from me.

As William Blake said:
"Great things are done when humans and mountains meet."

                    ######## Pat Fish ######FIN#######